Regal Cinemas has updated its reopening policy and will now require guests to wear face masks at their locations when theaters are able to resume business.
“Our current mask policy requires both employees and guests to wear masks at all Regal theaters,” a company spokesperson told Variety. “Our ultimate goal is to create a safe environment for our guests and employees. This is a change to our previous policy on masks based on feedback received from our customers.”
The announcement comes after AMC Theatres received backlash Thursday on social media for saying they would strongly encourage, but not require, patrons to wear masks because they “did not want to be drawn into a political controversy.” The theater chain reversed course on Friday, making face masks mandatory. Alamo Drafthouse on Friday said its circuit would require audiences to wear masks.
Regal, one of the nation’s largest cinema chains, plans to start reopening venues on July 10. Theater capacity will be reduced to 50% to comply with social distancing guidelines. They will also ensure plenty of space between rows and individual seats to reduce crowding.
Regal’s other safety precautions include contactless payment and improved cleaning between each screening. Disposable masks will be provided as needed and there will be wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers located near main entrances.
All employees will be required to wear face masks, as well. They will also have to wash their hands every 30 to 60 minutes and have daily health screenings. Vending machines, drinking fountains, self-service condiment stands, in-theatre dining and other restaurants will be closed.
Most theaters across the globe have been closed around the country since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many hope to reopen in time for the release of two big-budget studio movies — Disney’s “Mulan” on July 24 and Warner Bros.’ “Tenet” on July 31.